Tuesday is World Oceans Day, a day to celebrate the gift the ocean is to all of us and underscore the importance of protecting it.
And Philippe Cousteau, grandson of the legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, is making an urgent plea.
“Florida’s really on the front lines in this country on ocean issues, so we need your help,” Cousteau said in an interview with Local 10 News. “My grandfather would choose to be hopeful, like we choose to be hopeful.”
Philippe and his wife Ashlan travel the world documenting the challenges our oceans are facing — overfishing, climate change, pollution — and engaging all of us to be a part of the solution.
“Everyone can help. Because literally, every decision we make throughout our day makes a big difference,” said Ashlan Cousteau. “So ask yourself what kind of difference do you want to make: a good difference or a bad difference?”
The Cousteaus recognize that the more people know about the ocean, the more they’ll fight to protect it. The couple just released their book Oceans For Dummies, a fun read to educate us about just how vital the health of our ocean is to life on the planet.
“Lesson No. 1: There is only one ocean, and I think it’s a symbol of how we’re all connected,” Ashlan said. “The ocean is the life-support system of this planet. It unites us, it feeds us.”
Our ocean covers 75% of the earth’s surface and is home to up to 80% of all life on Earth.
“It controls our weather and our climate. Truly life on this planet is possible because of our ocean,” Ashlan Cousteau said.
Every three out of four breaths we take come from the ocean. Quite simply, if the ocean dies, we die, and the fight to protect it has never been more critical.
“There is more urgency,” Philippe Cousteau said. “There is more passion about this around the world.”
Here in Florida, we are surrounded by ocean. It drives our economy and provides us with a magical backyard and playground. The lifestyle it affords us is a big reason why many of us live here.
Now it’s payback time. The ocean needs our help.
“You are and can be such tremendous champions for our ocean planet,” Philippe Cousteau said. “So get out there, enjoy, but also protect.”
Here are some things we all can do:
- Stop using single-use plastics. We’re dumping 18 billion pounds of plastic into the ocean every year.
- Reduce your seafood intake, and if you’re going to eat fish, only eat local,
- Get involved in a beach clean-up or bay clean-up,
- Please stop killing sharks. They are the doctors of the ocean and keep it free of disease. They also absorb carbon and are our ally in the fight to mitigate climate change. “Sharks are one of the most extraordinary, magnificent, beautiful creatures on Earth,” Philippe Cousteau said. “We kill over a hundred million of them a year. We’re wiping them off the face of the Earth and we’re going to pay a heavy price for that.
Make no mistake: This is on all of us, and you don’t need to be an ocean conservationist to make a difference.
“We can renew and restore, that’s the key,” Philippe Cousteau said. “The theme that comes across a lot in the book is what are the tools at our disposal to solve these problems and build a healthy, abundant and thriving world, and hopeful world, and I think that’s really important.”